Wednesday Wordless Wanderer

I’m staring out the window again, sports fans. I think I done lost my mojo for good this time. I’ve reached that dreaded blogger cross-roads where, looking in all possible directions, I’ve already been down that road before.

In such situations, one logically resorts to their image archives. And such is the case today. The usual outcome of this image search is a string of words that stream out of the image.

In this case, I’ll just let you stream your own words about this one-of-a-kind compositions from Chez First. I think I’ll get dressed and wander aimlessly outside–instead of inside–for a while. You get busy telling the story behind this permanent bit of plush that lives with us on Goose Creek.


Creek Jots ~ Late May 2014

â–¶ Barely Bears: after seeing momma and her cub a dozen times this spring,  they’ve gone missing now for more than a week. Last encounter, the baby bear that Gandy chased up a tree a month ago instead chased the dog. I think cub got the idea that it was a play date. Gandy turned tail and did not engage. Ann followed the dog’s example.

▶ Notecards in the Wild: Floyd visitors, be sure and look for my Photo Note Cards on the shelves at the Floyd Country Store and at Chateau Morrisette Winery Tasting Room Store. Stock up now and be prepared for graduations, thank yous, wish you were heres, and come see us needs.

[su_button url=”” target=”blank” background=”#a1c8ea” color=”#1f1717″ size=”5″ wide=”yes” center=”yes” radius=”5″ icon=”icon: camera-retro” icon_color=”#ffffff” text_shadow=”1px 1px 0px #000000″]Explore all 25 naturescapes and landscapes in living color from Floyd County Virginia. Send a special note from a special place![/su_button]

â–¶ When the Rains Come. The creek is still flowing sufficient to pull water from it with my little battery-powered pump to water the garden. I will have to break from the computer to go do that soon before the sun crests the ridge and it gets hot–or what passes for it down in the holler. A good slow inch of rain would make a lot of dirt farmers happy. Maybe tonight.

â–¶ Garden Gamble: I planted two dozen tomato plants (mostly heirloom and supposedly blight resistant) whose fate is unsure after last year’s devastating late blight. I’ve mulched with cardboard held in place by leaf mulch. I’ll be pruning lower leaves as they mature to keep splash-up spores to a minimum; watering to avoid wetting foliage; and staying out of the garden when plants are wet with rain. It’s a crap shoot.

â–¶ Green Pastures: last year, after promise after promise, the pasture never got cut. It was a matted-down mess two months ago. But I’m happy to say the new grass has pushed its way up into a thick and lush high-pile carpet of timothy, orchard grass and clover–with the typical volunteer early succession volunteers you’d expect after a feral year of neglect. I’m promised again that it will be cut for hay. Waiting.

Creek Jots ~ Earliest Spring 2014

I usually post “jots” towards the end of the week. So shoot me. Between income tax and company coming and the firewood supply giving out, my hands are full. So read below, from my abbreviated morning musing…

[su_heading size=”14″]Spring has Sprung![/su_heading]

At least that’s what the calendar says. You’d never know it. Most of those early sightings that portend the coming of the long-awaited turning of our part of the planet back toward the sun have not yet been spotted. And trust me: I’ve been looking hard. I’d say we are at least 10 days behind the coming of those signs of spring on Goose Creek.

It is a time of year that, even in a normal season, I call NeitherNor. I felt it first and most powerfully the first couple of springs after moving north from Alabama–a state where March is Early Summer, with all the attendant wardrobe shifts, Coppertone and stinging insects.

We don’t have the stinging insects here. I gave up shorts years ago, not being a fan of legs the color of the belly of a dead fish. And the Coppertone–well that got me into a heap of trouble. More about that after the next surgery coming up soon.

[su_heading size=”14″]April 8: Things Fall Apart[/su_heading]

Forget Y2K. And maybe forget April 8 coming soon to a non-compliant Windows XP computer near you.

Microsoft says after April 8, any computer still running Windows XP will not be authorized to serve as a trusted node for secure transactions. That won’t make a difference on your mother’s old Compaq, but given the fact that 30% of business computers either have not or (because of lack of adequate IT staffing) cannot make the switch, your transactions at the ATM at Bob’s Bank may not go the way you want them to. I ‘m just sayin…

Hold on to Your Bitcoins. Why April 8 2014 Might be a Defining Moment in Bitcoin History

[su_heading size=”14″]The End of the Stacks?[/su_heading]

The Stacks are Google, Amazon, Apple, Facebook–the centralized systems that want and get “your identity, your allegiance and all your data.”

We sense that there is a major flaw in this model, but it has seemed inevitable that the Internet would eventually become structured and top-down and abusive in ways with which we are increasingly familiar.

Or maybe not. Change is afoot.  There may be other ways to exchange data and conversations and money and value of a vast variety of sorts. While I don’t understand most of what I know about it, the “blockchain” may come to be a way of decentralized peer authentication that cuts the legs out from under the Stacks. Prepare for positive change–if the grid and the economy and the social order will just cooperate for a couple of decades.

Creek Jots ~ Almost the Ides of March

[su_heading size=”14″ align=”left”]OneNote to Rule Them All[/su_heading]
On the geek front–which I’ve tried to avoid here but will tend to elaborate more in the future at the other site: I am all giddy over the recent announcement that Microsoft will be giving away the new OneNote for Mac this month. I’ll tell you why that matters (to me at least) but I’ll spare you the details here. (2014-03-15 now a longer elaboration on this at LE&E.)

[su_heading size=”14″ align=”left”]Yes, We Have No Notecards [/su_heading]
Rounding the BendDue to recently discovered but as yet unexplained missing note card stock (several hundred cards) I won’t be going forward just now with my plan to make them available by doing the fulfillment myself. I am looking into options like Etsy or Cafe Press for a storefront and one of a couple of local printers to print and ship. I apologize for creating expectations I could not meet. Such is life. The image site, First Impressions Photography, lives on.

[su_heading size=”14″ align=”left”]The Body Electric [/su_heading]
I used to tell nursing students that “one day, text books will no longer say it was impossible to regenerate lost body parts or organs.” My speculation was based on what we were learning then about the role that electric fields and magnetism play in the process of growth and repair. This recent work is promising that we will someday be able to orchestrate regeneration and repair in “The Body Electric”–a very interesting and prescient book by Robert Becker.
WATCH: Scientists ‘herd’ cells in new approach to tissue engineering

[su_heading size=”14″ align=”left”]Fukishima – Year Three[/su_heading]
To no one’s surprise, the tragedy and truth control continues in Japan three years after the March 11, 2011 tsunami and its aftermath. I forgot–until being reminded by this New Yorker retrospective of that nation’s nuclear nightmare.
READ: Japan’s Radioactive Nightmare : The New Yorker

[su_heading size=”14″ align=”left”]Shopping Malled[/su_heading]
It was fifty years ago when the first dozers began clearing and leveling the wooded ridges near Crestwood in Birmingham that I began to hate shopping malls. One had the audacity to promise perkily “The Trees Will Be Back!” Bradford pears is what we got. Well those paved-over places where you go to spend money you don’t have on things you don’t need are going belly up nation-wide. There are many reasons. What is to become of the one nearest where you live (and used to shop?)
READ: Are Malls Over? : The New Yorker

Creek Jots ~ 2014 January 24

image by wordle from words in this blog post
image by wordle from words in this blog post

They are frozen jots, amigos, two below and falling as I type at 430a (update: -4 at 730a) and blowing like a banshee up top. I am wearing everything I can find, including two afghans and a hat. (update -5 at 830a and I just risked my life for two cold hens and ain’t no egg worth that.)

â–¶  How Cold Is It? You can walk across a frozen Lake Superior for the first time since 2009–Instagram images here. If you’d like something a little more photo-realistic than Instagram retro-fades, check out this series on Flickr taken with a Nokia Lumia. More about the camera…

â–¶ I’ve been holding this one back, waiting for the right moment to deposit it at Fragments. I feel the urge. Here it is: Dogs poop along magnetic lines.

I’ve watched our resident pooper and can confirm this tendency. Ours pees south and poops north. I’m not making this up. Do watch your own pups poop and let us know. Plastic bags; pooper scooper; and compass. Now go make science.

Dogs poop in alignment with Earth’s magnetic field, study finds | PBS NewsHour

The big question is WHY? What possible benefit or selection advantage could such a behavior confer on those that follow this hardwired directive? (We country guys, of course, have always known and practice the rule in this regard with reference to wind direction. Never into.)

â–¶ Prepare to waste hours: Google Ngram Viewer. It is one aspect of that “big data” future we are entering. This one is actually quite intriguing and educational–even if it is yet another way Google is analyzing our past (through language, in this case, and books) with an eye towards our brave new future.

This new tool is discussed in a new book: Uncharted : big data as a lens on human culture. In it the authors describe (according to the summary) how “millions of users worldwide–are beginning to see answers to a dizzying array of once intractable questions. How quickly does technology spread? Do we talk less about God today? …

“All over the world, new scopes are popping up, using big data to quantify the human experience at the grandest scales possible. Yet dangers lurk in this ocean of 1s and 0s–threats to privacy and the specter of ubiquitous government surveillance. Aiden and Michel take readers on a voyage through these uncharted waters.”

â–¶ And speaking of Google: I am reading an ebook on big data. One of the diagrams there shows the GooglePlex as an elephant-headed octopus. It remembers everything and has its tentacles into everything. At the end of each tentacle is one of G’s enterprises like Picasa, Google Voice, etc. One I’d never heard of was Google Tap. Did the authors realize this was an April Fools joke–a morse code instant messenger?